HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Area school board has about a month to decide if it will use money from the district's reserves to balance the proposed 2010-11 budget passed Wednesday with a $608,000 operating deficit.
The final budget will be voted on in June.
A Mirror story Thursday incorrectly indicated the budget was balanced with a 4.875-mill tax increase, but officials said they haven't decided if taxes will go up for the next school year.
"We haven't decided how to pay for it," board member Wally Tomassetti said of the deficit. "Could come from the fund balance, millage, further cuts. We still have a month to look at those sorts of things."
School board member Brady Leahey reiterated Thursday that he believes the final budget can go through without raising the millage, which currently stands at 97.5 mills.
He said he was pleased with the budget, and he appreciated that there were no program cuts.
Leahey, board President Bill Padamonsky, Vice President John Beyer and board members Laurie Smith and Tomassetti voted in favor of the proposed budget.
Board members Darlee Sill, Eric McCoy, Stephanie Wertz and Joe McDonald voted against it.
During the last two months, the district made nearly $1 million in cuts and adjustments to next year's budget to bring the deficit down to $608,000, business manager Sam Wilson said Thursday.
The school district "cut as much as possible without hurting the kids," Wilson said.
Among the adjustments: eliminating seven teacher positions through attrition; increasing driver's education and summer school fees as well as ticket prices for athletic events; eliminating a coaching position; and cutting back on some equipment purchases.
Wilson, who advised the board to look beyond the budget year, said board members can choose to not raise taxes or take taxes up to the maximum level under Act 1 - 4.875 mills.
A 1-mill increase, for example, would pay off funding for the senior high construction project, Wilson said. A 3-mill increase would also take care of the operating deficit, while a 4.875-mill increase would help pay for an upcoming increase to the employer contribution rate of the Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System, he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Clegg is at 949-7030.